Side A: The Putnam County Pioneer Association was organized September 6, 1873, at a meeting in Kalida, Ohio. Its stated purpose was to “perpetuate the early history of our county.” Members gathered oral histories from early residents and published two volumes of Pioneer Reminiscences in 1878 and 1887. The all-day annual meeting, held every year in September, grew into a larger festival. In 1970, the Kalida Lions Club, with funds generated from the event, purchased the former Kalida Methodist Church at 201 E. Main Street and “sold” it for $10 to the Pioneer Association for use as a museum. The Pioneer Association adopted a revised constitution and changed its name to The Putnam County Historical Society in 1971. It continues to hold its annual meeting during the “Pioneer Days” weekend.
Side B: Early gatherings of the Putnam County Pioneer Association were held in various villages, but the annual Kalida “Pioneer Day” was established in the by-laws as the first Saturday in September. The meeting drew people from throughout the county to enjoy speakers, eulogies, and a community picnic. Over the years, more amusements were added, including tightrope walkers, hot-air balloons, merry-go-round rides, and pageants. During the 1934 Putnam County Centennial fireworks displays were held over two nights. In 1962, the Pioneer Association turned over sponsorship of the weekend to the Kalida Lions Club and Kalida Firemen’s Association. It also changed their annual meeting date to the first Saturday after Labor Day in September. “Pioneer Days” has grown into a four-day festival that continues to celebrate Putnam County and its residents.
Sponsors: Kalida Park Foundation, Bob Unverferth Family, Putnam County Historical Society, The Ohio History Connection